Joe Igbokwe is the Publicity Secretary of the Lagos State capter of All Progressives Congress, APC. In this interview, he speaks on the the stability of the party in Lagos, the 2015 general elections and issues from the last election in Ekiti among others.
APC preparation for 2015 general elections in Lagos APC Lagos is leaving no stone
unturned given the setbacks we had in Ekiti State recently. More than ever before we are fighting and digging deep as if we are in the opposition. From state to the 57 LGAs, and to the 377 Wards we are playing the real politics, realising that all politics are local.
Challenge of stomach infrastructure I have told you that Ekiti people have added new words to our political lexicon and that is STOMACH INFRASTRUCTURE. We will play the politics to the letter. We will face the challenge with all the energy at our disposal. We have rice in abundance especially the one produced in Ikorodu, Lagos. We are doing other things which time and space will not permit me to recount here. Lagos has the capacity to carry out any assignment without let or hindrance. Thank God we got seven months notice from Ekiti people that political equation in Nigeria has changed from politics of ideas to politics of the stomach. The ruling party, PDP has impoverished Nigerians in the past 16 years and they are now using stolen money to buy votes. The new trend in Nigerian politics is to get to the office, create poverty and steal as much as you can.
Qualities expected from the next governor
Incumbent Governor Babatunde Fashola is leaving behind big shoes and anybody who will occupy that exalted office must be a leader of leaders. He must be lettered in the art of governance. He must be bold, experienced, firm, strong, courageous, widely traveled, widely exposed and very deep. He must have passion for service.
He must be a good mobiliser, friend of the poor, and must have a third eye. He must have a developmental orientation, he is not a hut builder. He must have a big heart. He must believe in government of small things as well as government of big things. Only the best is good for Lagos because Lagos is not a place for mediocrity.
Challenges next governor will confront
Development is work in progress. He will continue where Governor Fashola will stop. The incoming governor will have 25 million Lagosians to contend with. Building infrastructure will continue to pose a big challenge in Lagos until every road, every street is upgraded in Lagos. Astronomical growth in Lagos population will continue to be a challenge, Security will always pose a challenge. Transportation, housing, refuse disposal, jobs among others will continue to be the big issue. The challenge to make Lagos to remain the Centre for Excellence will always be there. Critics will be there to put him on the hot seat. The challenge to make Lagos the first destination among African cities will always be there.
Candidate emerging through consensus or primaries
Please leave this great assignment for the party leaders. Lagos is not in short supply of great leaders but only one out of 14 governorship aspirants will be victorious. In taking the decision a lot is going to be considered. If we make a mistake we may end up with a meretricious mediocrity. The leaders must be extremely careful now that ethnic and religious politics are taking the front seat in Nigeria. Our leaders must shine their eyes because APC Lagos will not go into 2015 elections with a divided house.
What is APC doing to prevent the repeat of the Ekiti episode in Osun?
What happened in Ekiti State will never, never happen in Osun State. Ekiti State was stolen and that robbery is unacceptable in Osun State. Even though we know PDP very well and their ugly antecedents we thought they will respect themselves in Ekiti and play to the rules but a leopard cannot change its skin. They will meet their waterloo in Osun State. In Osun State, PDP will meet a lion in Governor Aregbesola.
Next council election in Lagos?
Please leave that decision for the governor and the leadership of the party in Lagos. When the time comes the elections will hold.
On zoning of governorship slot
Going by the thinking of the party’s leadership in Lagos, the Lagos West has produced a governor, the Lagos Central has produced one and now is the turn of Lagos East to occupy the exalted seat. I think this is a wonderful development that borders on justice, equity, and fair play. I am inclined to think that it is good for the commonwealth. I have no doubt in my mind that APC Lagos will key in to this development. It is fair to all concerned and it is going to be beneficial to all.
Agitation for a Christian governor
In 1993 nobody raised any eyebrow when Nigerians voted for the late Chief MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe, both of them Muslims. Now 22 years after, PDP has dragged Nigeria into ethnic and religious politics. This is unfortunate. I know that Christians in Lagos have been asking for a Christian candidate in Lagos because Muslim governors have ruled Lagos since 1999. They have the right to do so and the leadership of the party must listen to them. We have to live with it.
PDP has inflicted mediocrity, ethnicity, tribalism, sectionalism, sycophancy, and politics of infrastructure of the stomach in Nigeria. Nigeria is retrogressing, and moving dangerously into a state of anything goes. May we never crash this democracy? Lagos wants a good Governor, a thinking Governor and a goal getter. You can find a good Governor from every religion.